Early Protagonists in Family Medicine in Germany – an Interview Study

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2017.0502–0507

german translation / full article

Vera Kalitzkus, Stefan Wilm

Keywords: family medicine general practice primary health care qualitative research historical perspective

Background: Family medicine is an integral part of general practice. Its roots go back to the late 1970s. New approaches in general practice were tested in which aspects of family medicine played a role. In order to strengthen and improve family medicine in research and practice, a historical perspective can offer important insights. How can the experience and knowledge of protagonists from that time period be used for the further development of family medicine?

Methods: Qualitative interviews (n = 9) were conducted with early protagonists of family medicine in general practice in Germany, who contributed to family medicine with publications, research projects or focus in their general practice specifically in the 1970s/80s. A content analysis was conducted.

Results: In the 1970s/80s, family medicine was perceived as integral to general practice. The results of the study express ambivalences, they do not show a flattering picture of family medicine at that time. Problematic aspects of family medicine are voiced and the absence of methodological reflection and structured and systematic approaches to family medicine respectively pointed out. The importance of the willingness to commit oneself to a close relationship with patients and their families, however, is pointed out. The complex and diverse range of tasks, in particular, as well as the close contact with patients were described as fulfilling and meaningful.

Conclusions: The results of the study indicate that personal interests and individual approaches toward general practice shape the specific realization of family medicine in practice. However, concepts or methods for a structured approach towards family medicine in general practice during that time can hardly be found.

(State: 15.12.2017)

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